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News Summary: July 2015

Calais Crisis

There has been a large spike in attempts to enter Britain illegally from Calais via the Channel Tunnel. Migrants have long gathered in Calais to try and enter Britain, however, Eurotunnel claims that numbers have increased from 600 to around 5000 and it is struggling to cope.

Migrants are said to also have become better organised, mounting nightly attempts in large groups in order to storm the facilities. Consequently, Eurotunnel has sometimes been forced to suspend its services, causing disruption at what is one of the busiest times of year for British holidaymakers.

David Cameron is under pressure to get tough on the migrants from many Conservative lawmakers and was recently criticised for referring to those trying to enter Britain as a ‘swarm’. The Labour Party and refugee organisations claim that the term was dehumanising and stirred public hostility against people often fleeing poverty and conflict.

Mullah Omar’s Death

Afghanistan has claimed that Mullah Omar, the elusive leader of the Taliban movement who fought to topple the government is dead.

The announcement came shortly before peace talks had been scheduled. The fate of Omar is likely to deepen Taliban divisions over whether to pursue negotiations with Kabul and who should be his replacement. Omar had not been seen in public since fleeing when the Taliban was toppled from power in 2001 and there had been speculation for years amongst militant circles that he was either incapacitated or dead.

The White House said it was aware of reports of the death of Omar and believed them to be ‘credible’. Spokesman Eric Schultz said that U.S. intelligence continued to look into the matter.

Obama in Kenya

President Barack Obama made his first trip as president to Kenya, his father’s homeland.

In a speech in the country he said that the United States and Kenya needed to work more closely together to combat the Somali Extremist Islamist group, al Shabaab who are now making their was into Kenya. He also commented on gay rights within the country. His message across Africa was that the state should not discriminate against people based on sexual orientation.

Kenya, like many African states, outlaws homosexuality. Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto said in May that there was “no room for gays” in Kenya.

Budget – NMW

British finance minister George Osborne said he would reshape the world’s fifth-largest economy by chopping welfare but also announced a new national minimum wage.

However, Osborne also announced that it would now take four years, not three, to achieve his aim of turning Britain’s hefty budget deficit into surplus.

“Britain still spends too much, borrows too much,” Osborne told parliament.

Seeking to counter the impact of his plan to save 12 billion pounds ($18 billion) in annual welfare spending, equivalent to about 11 percent of the non-pension welfare budget, Osborne announced a new higher minimum wage for those aged 25 or over.

Osborne also pledged to cut corporation tax to 19 percent in 2017 and 18 percent by 2020 from its current level of 20 percent.

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Naina Bhardwaj

Naina Bhardwaj

Naina Bhardwaj

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